Pretty Little Liars 1.01 - Ashley Benson and Torian Bellisario
Pretty Little Liars 1.01 - Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Spencer (Torian Bellisario) © ABC
Pretty Little Liars - Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario and Shay Mitchell
Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario and Shay Mitchell © ABC

ABC Family’s new series, Pretty Little Liars, is based on the popular series of novels by Sara Shepard. The show follows the lives of four friends, a year after the leader of their group, Alison, has mysteriously vanished. They believe their secrets are safe forever, until they begin to receive messages from someone named ‘A,’ threatening that the truth might be one text away.

Ashley Benson portrays Hanna, and Lucy Hale plays Aria on the show, two of the scared group, who are trying to keep their secrets to themselves. I spoke with both actresses about their new series, and the art of keeping secrets.

For those who haven’t read the novels, are we right in assuming that the show is about some juicy secrets?

Ashley: The show’s about secrets and the lies that we tell. The pilot starts out where we’re four best friends who’ve come back together after our friend Alison goes missing.

We start receiving messages that threaten to reveal all of our secrets that could ruin our lives. But we also deal with real life issues and great love stories as well.

Can you talk a little about your characters in the show and a little more on what their relationship is like?

Pretty Little Liars 1.01 - Ashley Benson and Troian Bellisario
Pilot Episode 1.01 – Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Spencer (Torian Bellisario) © ABC

Ashley: My character Hanna is the popular girl but she’s really insecure and acts out to try to get attention and to feel loved by her parents.

At first she seems really rude toward the other girls and just doesn’t care but, progressing in the series, we’ve become closer.

Lucy: We’ve become reunited because we have no one else to confide in.

Ashley: We start trusting each other. It’s cool to see that, to see the relationship build up again.

Lucy: I play Aria, who is the most unique of the girls. She wears whatever she wants and is very comfortable with herself at 16-years-old so she’s very unique.

There is this mystery of the texts the girls are getting being signed “A”. So, is that the friend Alison back from the grave? They do find her body in the opening episode.

Both: We don’t know!

Didn’t one of the girls think they saw her after her body was found? How supernatural is the show?

Pretty Little Liars 1.01 - Lucy Hale and Ian Harding
Pilot episode 1.01 -Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale) and Ezra Fitz (Ian Harding) © ABC

Lucy: Yeah. Well, an event will happen and five seconds later, we’ll get a text message or a letter about it. So somebody is around us 24/7 and we don’t know who it is, so I’ll say it’s really eerie!

In your own lives, do you both have your own circle of friends who you share secrets with?

Ashley: Yeah. I have a very small group of friends just because I think it’s better that way, but we tell each other a lot.

We confide in each other; nothing serious but it’s always good to have those close girlfriends or guy friends you can put your trust in and tell them what’s going on with your life.

Pretty Little Liars continues on page 2 (click below)

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.